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Swainson’s or Chestnut Mandible

(Ramphastos Swainsonii)

The Swainson’s Toucan, aka the Chestnut Mandible Toucan (Ramphastos Swainsonii) is the second largest of the toucans, weighing in at 600 grams, with a beak length reaching eight inches. The Swainson’s toucan is a native of Central America ranging from southern Honduras south to northern Colombia, where it is fairly common in the wild.

Swainson’ s toucans are fairly common in captivity, and are relatively easy to breed, very hardy, and easy to manage.

Aviculture: Outdoor flights should be at least 8′ x 12′ x 6′ for the larger toucans. Toucans may be a bit pugnacious with other species in their family and with smaller birds, and therefore should not be housed with different birds in small enclosures or cages.

Toucans are frugivorous birds, whose primary diet is fruit. In the wild they consume fruits from as many as 100 species of plants and trees. They also consume a variety of insects for protein, especially during their nesting cycle.

They MUST be fed FRESH fruit every day! The fruit diet should also be supplemented with a low iron protein source (such as Mazuri Low Iron Softbill diet by Purina Mills).

Toucans are not as difficult to breed as often thought and must be housed alone in pairs, preferably following the size enclosures mentioned above under housing. While they will breed in boxes, with a concave bottom, they are far more likely to breed if they are provided with a “natural” nest, constructed from a palm tree log. Logs allow these birds to continually dig their nest chamber deeper, which helps them cement the pair bond.

All Ramphastids lay pure white, elliptical shaped eggs, usually 3-4 per clutch. Incubation for all species lasts 16 days, and young fledge the nest at 46-50 days for larger toucans.

First captive breeding: May 22, 1990; Jerry Jennings.